Who can say no to tender, braised meat in a rich sauce flavored with wine and vegetables, not to mention that ultra-flavorful and tender marrow inside a shank? The slow cooker makes the whole thing pretty darned easy, while beef shanks make it a heck of a lot cheaper than veal.
'slow-cooker' on Serious Eats
Rich chicken tortilla soup, made from slow-simmered chicken thighs, joins quintessential toppings—avocado, red onion, sour cream, cilantro, cheese, tortillas, limes and hot sauce—in this simple, sustaining slow-cooker meal. The broth gets both depth and brightness from chili powder, smoky chipotles, fire-roasted tomatoes, cumin, and a couple of secret ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder and apple cider vinegar.
A sacred Italian-American institution, Sunday gravy is a meat-forward, all-day-simmered dish with as many recipes as there are Italian families who make it. My version incorporates flank steak braciole, Italian sausage, tender meatballs, and pork ribs along with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, all simmered together in a rich red sauce.
Assertively seasoned with garlic, oregano, pepper, and enough salt to form a crust, pernil—a Puerto Rican mainstay—lingers in the slow cooker for 18 hours until browned and fork-tender. It's served with vinegar-based pique criollo, a hot sauce made with peppers, garlic, pineapple and herbs.
Ropa vieja, the classic Cuban dish of shredded stewed beef flavored with a vinegary tomato and pepper sauce, is a natural choice for the slow cooker, stewed all day and served with rice and beans.
Creamed corn, made in the slow cooker, is gussied up with cream cheese, American cheese, and crème fraîche.
Hearty and lively at once, harissa-flavored beef stew helps ease the transition from winter to spring.
Traditional red lentil soup is prepared in the slow cooker before it's garnished with cilantro, red onion, and lemon juice.
Blasted with lime, this red curry soup contains a commingling of chicken, kale, potatoes and mushrooms.
Slow cooker Italian sausage meatballs are served in a long-simmered sauce that gets its depth from dry red wine and balsamic vinegar.
Beef stroganoff is prepared in the slow cooker, yielding tender, tangy results.
Traditional chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is easily adapted for the slow cooker.
Comforting Mexican pot roast is prepared in the slow cooker with saucy beans.
Slow cooker paprika pork, seasoned with thyme and caraway, is finished with sour cream and served over egg noodles.
Spicy tomatillo chicken is cooked in the slow cooker and tucked into corn tortillas topped with red onions and cilantro.
Hawaiian kalua-style pork is cooked for 18 hours in the slow cooker, yielding tender pulled meat for sandwiches.
Combos, the classic Chicago sandwich of Italian sausage and Italian beef, can be made and held for a crowd in the slow-cooker.
Comforting, aromatic slow-cooked pork shoulder makes for a rich, meaty pasta sauce. Here, it's seasoned with fennel seeds and thyme, garnished with Parmesan and a grating of lemon zest.
Savory beef brisket gets slow-cooked with potatoes and peppers in a deeply flavorful sauce.
Aromatic pho, made in the slow cooker, is both comforting and customizable.